He likened the opposition leaders to “Talheh and Zabir”, two figures from the history of Islam who despite their stellar background in supporting the Prophet Mohammad, turned against Imam Ali and were killed in a confrontation with the first Shiite Imam.
Leading Tehran’s Friday Mass Prayers to mark the anniversary of the passing of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “People’s history is of no consequence. If the present conditions of a person stands in opposition to their past, their background will be of no effect.”
He remarked: “Talheh and Zabir were not insignificant people. However, their past performance disappeared and Amir-almomenin (first Shiite Imam) fought against them.”
In his speech which was broadcast live on national television, Ayatollah Khamenei lashed out against opposition leaders for organizing counter demonstrations on Qods Day and Ashura Day, two days of public ceremonies in Iran.
In the past year, the opposition used national days of public events in order to organize their own protests against the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June which they claim was secured through electoral fraud.
Opposition leaders, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have condemned the violent confrontation of government with protesters on these days.
Ayatollah Khamenei went on to slam the opposition for what he claims is an alignment with the traditional enemies of the Islamic Republic which he listed as “the US, Great Britain, CIA, MOSAD, Monarchists and Monafeghin (dissident group, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran).”
MirHossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have repeatedly stated that the Islamic Republic has been derailed from the original paths set by its founder.
Ayatollah Khamenei dismissed this criticism saying: “It is impossible to collaborate with those who are evidently against the principles of Imam (Khomeini) and stand by them or remain silent beside them, yet at the same time claim to be a follower of the Imam.”
Also, here is a translation of excerpts by Iranfocus that more clearly demonstrate the seriousness of Khamenei’s statement:
Khamenei……Today, in the first part of the sermon, I will share some points about the esteemed Imam [Ruhollah Khomeini]. We will study the Imam as a symbol or a criterion. This is important because the main challenge of all sizeable social developments, including revolutions, is to safeguard the principal course of action offered by the said revolution or development. This is the most important challenge for any powerful social change, in the sense that such a change embodies certain goals and is geared to move towards those goals, inviting others to join in. This sense of direction towards the goals of a revolution or social movement must be preserved. Otherwise, that revolution will turn into its complete opposite and operate against its own goals.
The sense of direction for any revolution serves as its fundamental identity. If the sense of direction were to change and attention is diverted from the main path, then the revolution will not achieve its ends. This is significant because such change is gradual and intangible. It is not as if a 180 degree turn would take place right at the outset. Rather, it starts from smaller angles, and as it continues, the distance between the main path, which is the right one, will increase with such deviations on a daily basis.
Usually, those who seek to alter the identity of the revolution will not have an official flag or will not label themselves as such. They do not act in a way that shows their opposition to the [main] path, and sometimes, they even perform an action or make a statement to show support for the path of the revolution. They are creating a divergence to make the revolution move away from its direction and ultimately bring it down. In order to prevent this wrong direction or deviation from taking hold, there must be certain criteria. If such criteria are in place, and if they are clear and readily observed by the people, then a deviation would never take place. Moreover, if someone were to move in the direction of that deviation, they will be identified by the masses of people. But, if such criteria were absent, then the threat will become serious. Now, what is the criterion for our own revolution?
There is a threat. The enemy, the enemy of the revolution and the enemy of the Imam will not stand by. The enemy is trying to uproot this revolution. How? Through deviations from the path of the revolution. So, we must have a criterion, and the best criterion is the Imam himself and his path.
We must explicitly make reference to the Imam, along with his stance against the arrogant powers, against reactionary movements, against western liberal democracy, and against hypocrites and charlatans. One must make a direct reference to the Imam with regards to such matters. Those who were influenced by the Imam’s outstanding personality, and those who heard his positions, surrendered themselves. We cannot cover up or hide the Imam’s positions, or diminish the power of the ones we deem as too radical, so that certain people would appreciate it.
Those who follow the Imam must know that the Imam would not have joined a coalition that explicitly waves the flag of opposition against the Imam and Islam. It cannot be accepted that the US, Britain, CIA, Mossad, monarchists, and the Monafeqin (pejorative term used by the regime to refer to the People’s Mojahedin) are all in agreement about an axis, and then the same axis claims to follow the Imam’s path. This is not acceptable.
Another fundamental point about the path of Imam is that he repeatedly stated that judgment about people must take place using their current circumstances as a criterion. The individuals’ past actions are not of concern. The past comes into play when the current situation is not clear. That is when we would resort to the past to discover how it was in order draw a line to the present. But, if the individuals’ current situation is the complete opposite of their past, then the latter would be irrelevant. This is the judgment that Imam Ali made in the case of Talha bin Ubaidullah and Zubayr ibn al-Awwam. You should know that Talha and Zubayr were not insignificant figures. Zubayr had a glowing history, which very few of Imam Ali’s followers shared. After Abu Bakr became the caliph, during the very first days, a number of Muslims rose up during Abu Bakr’s sermon and opposed him. They told him, ‘you are wrong. Ali is right.’ The names of these people have been recorded in history, and it is not just recounted by the Shiites. It is all recorded in history books. One of the people who had risen up to defend Ali’s right was Talha. Such was his background. Twenty-five years separate that day from the day Zubayr pulled out a sword against Ali. Now, our Sunni brothers want to excuse Talha and Zubayr and say their knowledge could only lead them to that point. Anyhow, whatever the case was, we are not in a position to say what their situation is as they face God. But, what did Ali do with them? He fought against them. He took an army from Medina to Kufa and Basra to fight against Talha and Zubayr. This means that their pasts simply vanished.
This was Imam’s criterion. [In 1979,] there were some people who were on the plane alongside Imam and came to Iran from Paris. They were executed during the Imam’s time for treason. There were also some who had contacts with Imam during the periods he was in Najaf and later in Paris. They were treated cordially by the Imam at the beginning of the revolution. But, later, their positions and deeds led Imam to reject them. End
Note: His remarks represent the sternest warning yet to leaders of the rival faction. He warned that those who continue their defiance would face execution (as was the case with Khomeini’s confidant and foreign minister during the hostage crisis, Sadeq Qotbzadeh), or banishment (as was the case with Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, who was deposed as Khomeini’s heir apparent following his public opposition to the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988).